by: Tom Mallams, President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
KLAMATH OFF-PROJECT WATER USERS ASSOCIATION
October 25, 2011
Honorable, Secretary Ken Salazar,
Department of Interior
I am writing this letter to inform you of a very disturbing public meeting I attended on September 26, 2011, in Chiloquin, Oregon. This public meeting was funded by the Department of Interior, through Upper Klamath Water Users Association,(UKWUA), Klamath Water and Power Authority(KWAPA) and Klamath Basin Power Alliance, (KBPA). The published intention of this meeting was to sign up “interested” irrigators in the so called “affordable power”, hoped for in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement,(KBRA), and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement,(KHSA).
As I approached the inner door to the Chiloquin Community Center, where the meeting was scheduled to take place, a very loud, obnoxious, and rude, UKWUA Board Member, Cheri Little, blocked the door way so I was unable to enter. She exclaimed that “we needed to go outside and settle this once and for all!”
I instantly had two problems or questions that she would not respond to. Number one was that I had no idea what she was talking about and secondly, I was not about to go outside with anyone who was in that current frame of mind.
I motioned to Mr. Mike King, who was already inside, to come over to the door. She was distracted for a moment so I was finally able to enter the room. She kept up a caustic, verbal abuse for another minute or two, until I was able to find a seat and sit down. I still have no idea what she was talking about as her sentences were not even coherent.
It is hard enough to attend a public meeting such as this one and be subjected to such vile, verbal abuse and out of control behavior. But the truly disturbing aspect, which adds insult to injury, is that this individual is a member of the Board of Directors of UKWUA, one of the very organizations sponsoring this public meeting funded by federal tax dollars. During this entire outburst, additional Board Members of all three organizations present ignored these inappropriate actions, and it is not possible that they were unaware of her outburst.
When this meeting in Chiloquin began, the first order of business was to introduce Mr. Mike King and myself as the “major opponents” of the KBRA and KHSA”. This was done by Hollie Cannon, the Director of KWAPA and Board Member of KBPA. Mr. Cannon was conducting this meeting.
Well over a year ago, I had an earlier similar caustic verbal attack from this same UKWUA Board Member, at one of the closed door KBRA meetings in Sacramento. She exhibited the same irrational out of control attitude in this earlier meeting. This first time it started in a “breakout meeting” and continued down two or three flights of stairs and into the “full group” meeting. Many participants witnessed this protracted outburst including our attorney, and at least two additional Board members of UKWUA and their attorney Greg Corbin.
After this public meeting in Chiloquin, we went outside to find two signs opposing dam removal that were attached to a private vehicle destroyed. This vehicle was parked directly in front of the Community Center. Another Board Member, Becky Hyde commented, “What did you expect coming to a meeting in Chiloquin”. Apparently, our constitutional rights to freedom of expression are somehow suspended at federally funded events in Chiloquin.
Interesting enough, the very day of this confrontational event in Chiloquin, Steve Kandra, published an article entitled “Klamath Water is for fightin’ over.”(Klamathonline.com) In this article, he attempts to make the claim that the Upper Basin Contestants, (UBC), in the Oregon State Adjudication process, are attempting to prevent Project irrigators from gaining a water right. I am one of sixty five total Contestants in the Adjudication process and I have the illustrious distinction of being the only one named in this article.
I also find it disturbing that the KBRA is constantly being sold with false and misleading statements. For example, at the KBPA promotional meeting in Bonanza, Oregon, on September 19th, I pointed out that the KBRA mandates that Off-Project irrigators must allow the Klamath Basin Coordinating Council or a local partner access to their private property to assess compliance with the “conservation plan”, in order to qualify for the affordable power program. The President of both sponsoring organizations, KBPA and UKWUA, Carl Scronce, strongly denied that the KBRA said any such thing. Over his objection, I quoted directly from the KBRA, sec.17.3.2, which says exactly that.
Such obvious attempts of misinformation and intimidation, allowed in public meetings, funded by the Department of Interior, and direct or indirect suggestions of violence cannot be tolerated. They are nothing more than a vain attempt to dissuade opposition. Those that encourage violence, participate in this type of open intimidation tactics or ignore its presence should certainly be denied any position of leadership and any further funding for these organizations should be halted immediately.
I look forward to your response.
President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
Cc: Michael Conner, Commissioner, BOR
Lori Gray-Lee, Pacific Northwest Region Director, BOR
Jason Phillips, Klamath Basin Area Office Manager
Congressman Greg Walden
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Diane Feinstine
Congressman Tom McClintock
Congressman Doc Hastings
Congressman Devin Nunes
Congressman Kevin McCarthy
Congressman Wally Herger
Senator Doug LaMalfa
Senator Doug Whitsett
Representative Bill Garrard